Westmeath shines on the big screen in new film

A new Westmeath/Offaly feature film to be released on cinema screens nationwide has been hailed by many critics as a major success.

The film, A Nightingale Falling, which was shot around Tyrrellspass and Daingean in July 2013, will now be available for audiences in the Midlands to see as it will be released in Athlone and Tullamore cinemas.

“A host of local people and communities were involved in the production which has helped propel this film to cinema screens in Ireland. There are so many people to thank and highlight that the credit list is fairly long,” commented the filmmakers Garret Daly and Martina McGlynn, whose company Mixed Bag Media is based in Daingean.

Some of the cast and crew highlighted in those credits are experiencing the joys of the silver screen for the very first time. Ken Crann, a car enthusiast from Mullingar made a valuable contribution with his vintage vehicles and also makes an appearance in the movie as a chauffeur.

The film is set in Offaly in 1920 during the War of Independence. The production team made efforts to ensure that the sets and locations were authentic and that audiences would be in for a treat with the visuals on screen. Mullingar hairstylists Anna and Isobel Keegan of Indulgence Hair & Beauty were vital members of the main production unit, working with the actors known for their roles in Game of Thrones, The Fall, Fair City, and Ripper Street.

Those that have seen the film have noted the beautiful and picturesque scenery on display which highlights many local areas such as the Grand Canal, and distinctive green and crescent of houses in Tyrrellspass. The Clockhouse in the village owned by Finbarr and Breege McCarrick hosts a pivotal scene in the movie. Local resident Sylvia Mollison was instrumental in supporting the endeavours of the filmmakers and assisted with access to the church which they were kindly granted access to by Canon Gerald Fields.

Denise Heslin from Kilbeggan Distillery was also very helpful to the props department, providing them with original oak barrels and vintage signage which providing a real midlands feel to the sets built for the film.

The film is being hailed by a number of critics as the miracle production from counties Westmeath and Offaly that has defied all the odds to achieve the level of success so far. It has opened film festivals, drawn large crowds, and the filmmakers were invited to Hollywood for a special event honouring the Irish in film on the strength of the movie.

A Nightingale Falling opens for a week at the IMC cinemas in Athlone and Tullamore from September 12.

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